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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Green River, Running Red: The Real Story of the Green River Killer by Ann Rule

Green River, Running Red: The Real Story of the Green River Killer, American's Deadliest Serial Murderer by Ann Rule

Written in 2004 by Ann Rule who lives in Seattle, Washington just a few blocks from where most of the prostitutes, who were killed, plied their trade. Most of the murders took place in 1984-1985 but it wasn't until 2001 that the police were able to get the DNA evidence to arrest Gary Ridgeway. The first victims were found in the Green River in King County, Washington and was why he was called the Green River Killer (GRK) although only a few of them were found there. Gary Ridgeway did not fit the typical model of a serial killer. He was close to his parents, had a low IQ, had 3 marriages with the last one being a long lasting marriage (his wives had no idea), he had kept the same job with Kenilworth for nearly 30 years, had his own home. He was not a drifter, he was not isolated or reclusive, he had a long term marriage, he held a job. But he was a sex addict. He wives and girlfriends said he wanted sex 3 times a day until he got older and then began having impotency problems. Little did they know that he was also picking up prostitutes and having sex with them too. He and his last wife had a love for bargain hunting and dumpster diving. They did flea markets, yard sales, thrifting and loved to "save money". It was their hobby. They got a kick saving money. His last home was a nice size and the living room, kitchen and bedroom were very neat and orderly. The other rooms were organized but stacked with their bargain buys. And I noticed that Rule said Ridgeway had no intention of paying the prostitutes. He would flash money to get them in his car but he knew he was going to get his money back because after sex, he would kill them. Most times he would re-visit the bodies to have sex with their dead bodies (necrophilia). He would have to stop "when the flies would start getting bad". I think he not only enjoyed the sex and the killing but enjoyed getting something for nothing. It was free thrills, the ultimate bargain. Although the police had Ridgeway as one of their suspects, they just didn't have any evidence until DNA testing became available. They arrested him for 4 murders in 2001 but he plea bargained. Instead of the death penalty, he got a life sentence if he gave the police all the victims and their resting places …as much as he could remember. According to Ann Rule he admitted to 71 murders before stopping. I think it's probable that there were more, whether he forgot them (he never saw them as real human beings and often confused the victims) or the murders occurred outside of King County (the plea deal was only with King County for the murders he remembered - where he swore he did all his murders - but if he is ever connected to victims outside King County or "remembers" additional murders, he would be in violation of his plea bargain and could get the death penalty so he doesn't have any incentive to admit to any other murders).

It was grisly and unbelievable someone could be so evil while no one around him knew it. He kept his mouth shut and never shared with anyone else. But Ann Rule didn't do a great job with writing this complicated case. I've read some of her books in the past and enjoyed them but this one was poorly coordinated. It wasn't in good order. I may have told you the basics of the story but there is still a lot to make reading this book interesting. She gave short biographies of the victims. There were a lot of police involved with the case over the years and many of them suffered from the stress of the case and Rule wrote about that. But, with so many police and so many victims, it got confusing. In this case, I think she would have done better to have had photos of the police inserted where they came into the picture like she did the victims. Instead of a separate picture section in the middle of the book. There could have been a lot more pictures in a book like this and that would have been greatly appreciated. I'm not talking about photos of dead bodies but of places. She wrote as though the reader was familiar with the area and a map would have helped too.

I do not recommend this book for anyone under 16. The case is interesting but Rule's book may not be the best on this subject.

Interesting case but not the best writing. I don't really recommend.

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